How to date at 38…or possibly how not to.

dating-websites-for-people-who-hate-online-dating

“Make sure you include a full body photo so they can see you’re not carrying a few extra kilos.”

After an interesting tearoom discussion with two lovely work colleagues about dating in the modern world, I found myself reflecting on life back in the dating scene. That fact that I call it a scene shows that I’m rapidly approaching my George Clooney salt and pepper years. I mean, do scenes actually exist anymore, and if they do can I join the Drinking Tea and Eating Chocolate While Watching Buffy re-runs Scene?

Smashing up against my late thirties I find myself trying to figure out what the fuck it means to actually date someone. While 38 is by no means old, it certainly isn’t young especially in a world where the primary form of dating seems to require apps, very good Wi-Fi and apparently social group dating (whatever that fuck that is Tinder).

In days gone by, when I previously visited single land, dating apps were dating websites, and the taboo that came with it ensured you never actually mentioned to anyone that you met online; it was either at a party, through a mutual friend, or my personal favourite, at a wedding. But times have changed, as they do, significantly in a short space of time, making meeting new people as easy as a swipe to the right. When my passport to single land was first approved, the first thing I did after getting significantly drunk on Christmas Day, was hit up Tinder and swipe right with mates while drinking heavily.

Within the first hour I was chatting with a girl who suggested that I bring a friend to her house for a late night drink with her and her housemate – on baby Jesus’ birthday? At the same time I started a pleasant conversation with a nice girl that eventually culminated in an actual date. We met at the beach, grabbed take away coffee and had a nice three-hour conversation under a beautiful summer sun, strolling the familiar path between Henley and Grange, then back again with the occasional stop on the sand. There was nice conversation, laughter, and a mutual understanding that somehow in the chaos of the universe we may be having a great online experience. Could this not be the perfect rebound? A few days later another date ensued with similar enjoyment – things were looking up.

Third date was excellent which included a delicious dinner with a few cheeky wines and it no longer felt like I was doing this weird thing called dating, but just having a pleasant conversation over dinner.

I had heard stories (or possibly urban myths) of people who had come out of long term relationships and straight away bumped into their one and only. All the signs were pointing to such an experience. Good conversation, pretty girl, intelligent, can hold a conversation without various pit stops to her check her phone. I was preparing myself for impending bliss.

I rang the following day (yes an actual phone call, I like to kick it old school) to say how much I enjoyed her company and was told that she was terribly sorry but she was actually seeing someone else; apparently another Tinder match had been working a quicker online magic than I. Beaten at the finish line – or perhaps I wasn’t even in the race? Hang on a minute, is dating like managing investments? Should a single person have a variety of investment portfolios so that if one crashes there are still other options? Just how many fingers in how many pies is one supposed to have to successfully navigate the dating “scene”? I couldn’t think of anything more stressful.

So while my immediate response was to feel all kinds of disappointment (our overseas holiday and dinner with friends would’ve been amazing) I found myself laughing at the experience and my attempt to find to what possibly could be a short term solution to my newly found singledom. Apparently online dating is not only about impressing the person you’re with, but also competing with all the other dates she/he has been on the day before…and the following day.

For every negative online dating story (of which there are many) there are some where the stars align, and the universe smiles upon you to deliver a happily ever after. I’ve seen a few of these, and let me tell you its looks pretty fucking amazing; a real thing of beauty. Amazing enough to want to persevere for that special swipe right.

The prevalence of online dating platforms like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, RSVP and E Harmony (just to name a few), are merely a representation of how difficult it can be to meet people not just for a relationship, but to increase networks and make friends. Sure you can join a class, or a community group but these options can often take a long time and god dammit when winter is coming you want that Game of Thrones, wine, blanket and couch option now damn it.

Is our greatest challenge being the best version of ourselves when unplugged from the Matrix? In a world dominated by online profiles, are we not confident enough to be who ever the fuck we are in the flesh for the whole world to see? Meeting people in all reality is not that hard and evidenced by any time spent overseas where talking to strangers and going on adventures is commonplace. So should we be tourists in our own cities?

[For a great read on drinking alone in bars and the art of meeting new people wander over HERE, but be sure to come back].

But dating at 38 has become simultaneously easier and harder all at the same time. While asking a girl out the old fashioned way (to her face using actual words, a smile, eye contact and no emoticons) will never be easy…

…at this point in the article I am tempted to tell my Year 6 Rebecca Wauchope love of my life story, but that’s another post entirely…

…there are other elements that are suddenly a lot easier; namely the comfort of knowing who you are and the key to compatiblity. Additional years also come with a deep understanding that life is about seasons, and even though some things come to an end there are always new beginnings; leaves have to fall for flowers to bloom.

Another advantage of the added years is appreciating that life can’t really be planned but only prepared for. Change is our only constant, which now brings with it a deep excitement for the opening of wonderful things never previously considered; there’s no need to fear new chapters.

I’ve seen a few changes in seasons in my time and my fare share of endings and beginnings and no matter how many full body photos I try to find that show me less Dad-bodish, after all these years there still is no substitute for being exactly who the fuck you are.

Enjoy,

A.

Why write…?

enhanced-buzz-4022-1383088140-1Writing is hard. Scrap that, writing is fucking hard. Here I am pushing my late thirties up the proverbial career hill, with a few self-publishing writing credits to my name, and still I struggle to write, when undoubtedly it’s all I want to do. Why is that?

I can’t help but think that in addition to working through the process of plotting a novel, understanding your characters, their intentions and fears not to mention the small little things that help you paint a picture, I am finding myself having to deal with all this doubt. Is it worth all this bullshit?

Any writer will tell you that despite its difficulty, if writing is your thing then writing is your thing. I don’t propose to be a fantastic writer – in fact I am constantly confronted by the Pacific Ocean sized gap in the quality of my writing the writing of others I immerse myself in.

An essential in becoming a good writer, is to learn how the whole thing works. How do others structure their chapters, describe their characters and ultimately take you on a journey that’s worth the time it takes to get through a 400 page novel, or sit through a two and half hour movie.

And that’s it right there; the learning is the hard part. When you see the distance that after so many years doesn’t seem to be getting any closer, you can’t help but wonder if all the time you spend thinking, planning, dreaming and actually writing is worth it? Can I finish the first draft of a novel? Will it ever get published? Am I good enough to capture people’s attention? Will a publisher read the order of my words and be willing to put an actual dollar figure to it? Is my writing worth anything more than the time I put into it? If I do get published, can I make a living from it? What actually makes me different?

All these questions, on some level haunt me every day. Every act I take towards my dream of writing, in some way, is the bravest thing I can do. It’s the greatest act of bravery that I can portray in my life – however seemingly hopeless sometimes.

I can’t help but be drawn by ideas, moments, and memories that spark reasons for me to write. Like right now, as I write this a song leaks through from my headphones into my conscious – a song from an album that played every Monday night for six weeks when I would drive to a house where I would see her only on Monday nights and we would drink gin and fuck all the way through the album. Until eventually our Monday night casual encounters no matter how passionate, eventually did what they always do…end.

No matter how many years pass, when I hear that song, I can still taste that gin and feel her.

So, what’s to do but write then?

A.

AJ Does USA – Download eBook NOW!!

With his unique blend of irreverent humour, poignant observations, and wide-eyed wonder, Andrew J Natale takes us on a journey across the United States visiting five cities in 21 days. An expedition that starts in Las Vegas and ultimately finishes in the concrete jungles of Manhattan, AJ does USA is part travel diary, part reflection with an underlying hint of cathartic narration.

From meeting travelling hippies in San Francisco, to solitary strolls through New York’s China Town, AJ does USA takes us across the United States through the unique voice of Adelaide author, Andrew J Natale.

Download through iBooks –  https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/aj-does-usa/id956080978?mt=11

Download from Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/505433

I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below.

Enjoy,

A.

AJ Does USA – eBook coming soon…

Traveling alone is a unique experience and one I had coveted for a long time. Finally, after months of planning and thousands of dollars later, I found myself boarding my first ever international flight.

Many people I met commented on how “ballsie” or “brave” it was to travel alone on my first overseas trip. However, it’s not as though I was traveling halfway across the world to a third world country. The United States is an incredible country and very easy to navigate.

For all the American rhetoric we get through various forms of media, there is something to be said about a country that sells three different sizes of large when ordering food; a country that attracts so many international visitors but is still surprised when they hear a foreign accent; a country with a city like Las Vegas where you can walk fifty metres and be given both a handful of hooker cards and ‘Jesus loves you’ pamphlets – if only the hookers would love you too. A country that is so proud of it’s freedom, and honours those who fought for it, yet still has homeless war veterans begging for spare one-dollar bills.

I guess you could call this a journal of sorts; a way in which I can keep these memories firmly in my mind until I get a chance to return. While these are not the entirety of my experiences or observations, they are however, the ones I feel comfortable sharing.

So sit back, put your feet on something, grab a drink and journey with me across the seas…you get all the good bits, minus the 22 hour flight.

Enjoy…

A.

AJdoesUSA_EbookCover_Ver.1

The Legend of Ben Hall

10414529_920230644669514_8805797283979741671_n

I first met Writer/Director Matthew Holmes about 5 years ago when I was introduced to him to work on a script together. Needless to say a beautiful bro-mance began. Since then I have been astounded at Matt’s energy and passion for film and telling stories.

Recently, Matt started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for this film that had long been in production. With some clever marketing, some significant local support and some incredible energy from Matt, the campaign raised over $100,000 and filming for The Legend of Ben Hall begins in August.

I have the great opportunity to work on set as Script Supervisor and I can’t wait to get stuck into this project. Check out the website below, and if you want to donate go ahead. During filming I’ll endeavor to post more stories and images from filming.

Find out more about the film and Ben Hall HERE.

Check out the YouTube campaign

Enjoy,

A.